Take it like a man!

One of my pet peeves, particularly in the summer, is that female attorneys seem to try to get away with dressing so casually as compared to the men.  The male attorneys that I see are universally in coats and ties, and usually in suits.  (Makes it a lot easier to spot the pro ses and clients.)  But the women often show up, even when they are arguing motions, in sleeveless tops, slacks, unstructured skirts, skimpy sandals, etc.   They don’t look lawyerly; they look like they’re heading to the mall or a casual dining restaurant. 

The way I see it, if you want to be treated like a man, and I’m sure that these female attorneys do, you should ensure that you are presenting yourself as professionally as the men are.  I know it’s hot, but, for crying out loud, be thankful that you aren’t expected to wear a tie! 

Anyway, on that note, one of my new favorite blogs is Corporette, which bills itself as “a fashion and lifestyle blog for over-acheiving chicks.”  They generally discuss things to wear to work, and also foray into work-related dilemmas, often with an emphasis on the female perspective (for example, a guest blogger did a post on breast pumping at work, and a recent discussion went into how to control your tears if you feel the urge to cry at work).  I think it usually strikes a good balance between recognizing the uniqueness qualities of being a woman but not expecting special treatment or worship because of sex. 

The Corporette comments very often mention the book “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office,” recommending it as a warning against things that professional women tend to do to hurt their chances at workplace success.  Since I’m going to be out in the “real world” of law pretty soon, I thought that might be a good read.  After all, I’m always told that I am nice.  (For example, recently, on Althouse, I told a commenter who was going on about Sarah Palin’s “big tits” to stfu with the misogyny, and commenters chimed in that if I was telling him to stfu, he must really be out of line.  If I’m known as “the nice one” when using an assumed name on an internet political blog, I must be an absolute peach in real life.)

Anyway, I was looking at buying the book, but then I thought, would a man read a book called “Nice Boys Don’t Get the Corner Office”?  That sounds kind of lame; men, particularly successful men, don’t usually navel gaze like that.  Or, if they do, they don’t let on.  So, maybe girls that get the corner office don’t read books like Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office?  Now I’m torn.

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Stay Classy, Vice President Biden

Vice President Biden called the manager of a custard shop outside of Milwaukee, Wis., a “smartass” after the man asked him to lower taxes.

Biden made the comment Friday after the Kopp’s Frozen Custard shop manager told him that his dessert would be on the house if he lowered taxes.
“What do we owe you?” Biden is heard saying in footage captured by WISN-TV.
“Don’t worry, it’s on us,” the manager replied. “Lower our taxes and we’ll call it [the custard] even.”
“Why don’t you say something nice instead of being a smartass all the time?” Biden said a few minutes later.
Biden had walked in to Kopp’s mistakenly asking for ice cream instead of custard.
The manager said later in an interview with WISN that he thought Biden didn’t seem happy initially about the taxes comment, but that the vice president later whispered that he was just kidding.

Of course, if that were my custard shop (Oh, I wish I owed a custard shop!), I’d get a big sign, with a picture of the event, and make sure everyone knew that this was the place that the Vice President stuck his foot in his mouth yet again.Updated: Ann Althouse says: “Bite me!”  Stay classy, Althouse.  Oh, who am I kidding; I like you unclassy.  If you seek higher office, then I’ll expect class.

That 7-year Old Afghan Boy Mattered

At 7 years old, most boys in the U.S., and much of the world, are still playing with toy cars and watching cartoons.  We expect them to learn some basic reading and math, and we might take away TV time if they pick on their younger siblings or require some simple chores around the house.  The Taliban, however, has a different outlook on things.  They found a 7 year old boy in Afghanistan, who “may have informed the police or soldiers about planted explosives,” to be a spy, and executed him by hanging.  (via Ann Althouse)

The only reports say that the boy may have been the grandson of a tribal elder; we don’t know his name or face.  We don’t know his mother and father, although we can imagine their grief and shock. 

In September, 2001, I was a college student enrolled in an introductory Anthropology class.  I had class that Tuesday, but it consisted mostly of us staring at a television set that someone had wheeled into the classroom in shock and disbelief, waiting in horror as the first, then the second, tower collapsed and attempting to sort through the early, confused reports of what had happened at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. 

The next class was Thursday, two days later.  Almost every television station was still playing non-stop news coverage; every conversation was still tinged with the week’s grief and fear.  The countries vast fleet of airplanes remained grounded.  The anthropology professor greeted us with a word, underlined, written on the blackboard: Ethnocentrism. Defined by Encarta as: “conviction of own cultural superiority: a belief in or assumption of the superiority of the social or cultural group that a person belongs to.”    Encarta adds another word to the definition as well, a “description of use” that my professor made all too clear: “(disapproving)”.  Despite what had happened, we were not, not to believe that our culture was superior to that of the men who had hijacked those planes.  We were no better, we must know. 

No.  Our culture, most cultures, are better than the culture of the Taliban.  If it is not, then that little boy, the one without a name, doesn’t matter.  If it is not, than his loss is no different than any injustice born of our country’s culture, without regard to time and place.  If it is not, and the culture of the Taliban is equal to our own, there is no point in improvement, and no point in making the changes that our brave men and women are making in Afghanistan. 

But we are better.  The culture in Afghanistan can be better, too, and it will be.  The Taliban, however, the ones who tied a rope around the neck of a child, cannot be better.  They need to be gone.

Do Conservatives Ever Do This?

Ann Althouse points to a request from Organizing for America (which is basically Barack Obama, Inc.) requesting that supporters phone radio stations and give some (humorously shallow) talking points about why they like Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court.  

Althouse and her commenters do a pretty great job at picking out why this is a stupid idea, but it’s hardly new.  They even have a name, likely coined by Rush Limbaugh: “Seminar Callers.”  What I’m honestly wondering is: does anyone know if conservatives have tried to do the same thing?  Maybe not radio (since calling liberal radio shows tends to be pretty impossible), but even concentrated, talking points laden letters to the editor and such?  I tried several bing searches, and, while I found the calls to action for liberals pretty quickly, I couldn’t find any results for similar calls for conservatives, and I can’t recall ever having seen any in my daily perusals.  I’m pretty curious, though.

Glenn Beck Lies . . . Doesn’t He?

Went and got myself involved in a spirited discussion at Althouse today.  In the mist of the discussion, one of the resident liberals, the quirkily named Alpha Liberal, off-topically asserted that Glenn Beck is “corrupting the political process with his deceit and hyperbole – just to make a buck.”  (This was based on a quote from a Forbes article about Beck, which stated:  

With a deadpan, Beck insists that he is not political: “I could give a flying crap about the political process.” Making money, on the other hand, is to be taken very seriously, and controversy is its own coinage. “We’re an entertainment company,” Beck says..

I pointed out, obviously, that I have no problem with making a buck, but if you’re going to claim that he is corrupting with deceit, you need to back it up.  In truth, this was  a challenged I relished; I constantly hear complaints about Beck, but they never appear to be qualified with actual, you know, examples.  I don’t often hear of things he’s gotten truly wrong, and I’d like to know if they are there. 

So, Alpha provided me with a list of links that clearly show that Glenn Beck is a horrible deceiver, and threw in an insult about how I would just stick my fingers in my ears and ignore them, for some reason that I don’t understand, given that he has no experience with me that would support that I would do that.  Here are my reactions to his “evidence.” 

1) The first allegation is that Beck lied when he asserted that President Obama’s science czar John Holdren “has proposed forcing abortions and putting sterilants int he drinking water to control population.”  The article then goes on to debunk the assertion that Holdren advocated doing these things.  You can read the article to get the whole picture, but here’s a summary:

But with regard to Beck’s claim that Holdren “has proposed forcing abortions and putting sterilants in the drinking water to control population,” the text of the book clearly does not support that. We think a thorough reading shows that these were ideas presented as approaches that had been discussed. They were not posed as suggestions or proposals. [read the article for the quotes and see for yourself if they are “proposals”- Lyssa] In fact, the authors make clear that they did not support coercive means of population control. Certainly, nowhere in the book do the authors advocate for forced abortions. !

Propose: to offer or suggest (a matter, subject, case, etc.) for consideration, acceptance, or action: to propose a new method.
2.to offer (a toast).
3.to suggest: He proposed that a messenger be sent.
4.to present or nominate (a person) for some position, office, membership, etc.
5.to put before oneself as something to be done; design; intend.
6.to present to the mind or attention; state.
7.to propound (a question, riddle, etc.).

Advocate: to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly

I assume that Glenn Beck knows the difference between these two words. It’s a shame that PolitiFact doesn’t.

2) Polifact gives a good explanation of why Beck’s assertion that less than 10% of Obama’s cabinet members have private sector experience.  They also point out that he apparently relied on subjective research from an otherwise apparently reliable source, so it seems wrong to call this deceitful, rather than simply mistaken.  Regardless, Beck should retract this, assuming that he has not done so already, and not use it again.

3)   Polifact explains here that Andy Stern was, according to visitor logs, the most frequent visitor to the White House for the first several months of the administration, with the possible exception of some people whose names may not have been consistently recorded, such as cabinet members, although a later report showed this was not the case after July, 2009.  I think it’s fair to call this wrong and somewhat misleading for him to rely on the earlier report without qualification.  Deceitful feels hyperbolic, though. 

4) Polifact is very clear here that  Beck was relying on the government’s own language, which they later removed, when he stated that the Cash for Clunkers website would allow the government access to a public user’s computer.   It can’t be considered deceitful to rely on the own statements of the entity about which you are speaking, can it?

5) Here, FactCheck.org fully admits that, while Beck says that Obama has more “czars” than any other administration, the term czar is a term supplied by the media.  Based on this, it appears that it would be inherently subjective how many people qualify as “czars” in any given administration.  I can’t accept this as misleading. 

6) We did this one already, see #4.  (Hey, is padding the list deceitful?)

7) I found this last one, purporting to prove wrong Beck’s assertion that Hitler was closer to liberal than conservative, to be wholly unconvincing.  First, clearly, what is and is not liberal/conservative is fraught with subjectivity.  While it is true that Hitler’s reliance on militarism could be considered more “conservative,” I don’t think this is nearly as simple as it seems.  After all, the main reason that liberatarians like Beck and myself are concerned about government having too much power is that government is inherently militaristic.  Just ask Mao (political power comes from the point of a gun), among the other socialistic and communistic leaders whose policies have culminated in millions of deaths at the hands of the government that was supposed to improve the citizens’ lives.  Additionally, Hitler’s economic policies were extremely heavy with government control.  The article also points out that Hitler used religion when it worked for him, but I do not think that this is inherently a liberal or conservative thing to do.  Certainly President Obama has been more than willing to use invoke religious imagery in his speeches, in fact, more so than former President Bush.

The things that Glenn Beck has done that impress me are to point out the histories and character of a number of people involved with the administration, such as Van Jones and Anita Dunn, using their actual words and speeches.  I am also intrigued by his use of history to show us how the modern progressive state has evolved.  He has been remarkably successful at these things, and, while I understand that his style is a bit bizarre, he’s kind of a hoot to watch just on the grounds of uniqueness. 

But, let’s face it, the man is by no means infallible, as is shown by some of these issues (one of which is, apparently, the result of too much trust in the government).  For someone who is on television five hours a week and on the radio for many more hours, this list strikes me as pretty unimpressive.  Only a #2 and #3 could even arguably be called dishonest (and, as I said above, that assumes a level of intent that is no where near supported by the facts presented), and many of the “lies” here are not even really untruths.  To some degree, calling these lies appears more dishonest than the statements themselves. 

I remain unconvinced that the man is deceitfully corrupting the political process.

I can be neither with you nor against you

I’m intrigued by this Ann Althouse post that discusses a move to prosecute a number of pretty horrible high school bullies whose harassment may have led the bullied teen to take her own life.  While Althouse raises some great questions that must be considered, I’m mostly caught up by the comments, which quickly descend into an argument on “who’s side do you want to take.”  One commenter in particular constantly insists that he is “siding” with the girl who was bullied, in insisting that the other students should be prosecuted, and several commenters deride Althouse for even asking questions about what actual crime has been committed and what the practical implications of prosecution may be on other cases. 
 
In other words, for many, it’s not about what happened or what should happen, it’s about who was more deserving of your sympathies. 
 
Which brings me to this Silent Majority post on the ongoing case involving a fallen marine’s family’s suit against the dreadful Phelps Group for picketing his funeral.  The case was appealed to the 4th Circuit, which determined that the Phelps group, as distasteful as their message may be, are still entitled to their free speech rights, and a suit against them cannot stand.  As is often the case when a party loses a motion or appeal, the court ruled that the unsuccessful party, in this case the family, must pay the court costs.  (Note: this is different than paying all of the legal fees associated with the litigation, such as attorneys’ fees.  This only encompasses the fees required to bring the suit before  the court.) 
 
Southern man writes:
 This is a miscarriage of justice. The man lost his son in defense of this country and his reward was a group of degenerate reprobates celebrating his son’s death at the funeral. Seeking justice he filed suit and was again rewarded by being ordered to pay the legal fees for this group of morons. Justice is supposed to be blind not stupid. I would implore anyone with the means to donate to this cause.
 Unfortunately, here, the writer is demanding that justice be the exact opposite of blind.  He is asking that the court dismiss this most fundamental American ideal of freedom of speech, and instead choose the side of the party that deserves sympathy, the fallen solider’s family. 
 
I have nothing but the deepest sympathies for this family, and the greatest of admiration for their heroic lost son.  I don’t blame them for filing this suit; I understand why they did so.  The Phelps group are horrible, horrible people who do horrible things, and I cannot blame them for letting their grief and outrage trump their respect for freedom.  But, ultimately, the court must respect the freedom of all people, including those with whom we strongly disagree. 
 
Perhaps it helps to imagine it in different terms.  Let us say that you wrote a blog post, or a letter to the editor if you’re more comfortable with that, which harshly criticized a dead political figure.  Let us say that the family of that figure, outraged that you would demean their dearly departed, filed suit for their emotional pain from your critiques.  Their suit is dismissed, of course, on the grounds that you had and have freedom to state what you wish, even if it is harsh or unpleasant.  Especially if it is harsh or unpleasant.  The court costs must be paid.  Who should pay them?  Unless you chose to represent yourself, you have already been required to pay for an attorney to protect your rights, and you have certainly expended considerable time, energy, and stress over this case.  Should you, who were brough to court against your will, for a charge that was bogus, be required to pay the court costs?  I think not. 
 
Here, perpetrator may be different, the case is not.  The Phelps group, as disgusting as their message is, has a right to speak their peace.  We have a right to criticize them harshly for it.  Conservatives are fond of responding to complaints based on over-zealous political correctness with the admonition that there is no right to not be offended.  This remains just as true when the offense is real, and the offendee is wholly deserving of our sympathies. 
 
I side with Freedom, whoever’s side she winds up on. 

It drives me crazy that this is a trend now

My husband and I got engaged during my sophmore year in college, and married the summer between my junior and senior years.  He had dropped out of college, with 4 semesters under his belt, the year before we met, but has held a couple of retail management jobs that he excells at, as his subordinants and superiors alike never miss an opportunity to tell me. 

So we had always at least considered the idea that I would be the primary breadwinner and higher earner.  But when I graduated college with a B.S. degree in the truest sense of the word, and no clear idea of what to do next, we sort of hit a standstill.  I got a good but not great job at an insurance company; he continued to manage retail; we earned similar salaries and were happy and good, but stagnant and stuck.

I had always excelled in academia, and when I flirted with the idea of law school, he supported me wholehartedly.  The insurance job was fine, but neither one of us could leave to raise children, and as we matured, we had begun to both take on a Dr. Laura-like attitude that day care was certainly no place for babies.  So I would go to law school; I would get a lawyer job, and he would raise the kids.  (At least to those completely unable to anticipate the disaster that would hit the legal market), it made perfect sense. 

Most of my law school classmates gave it lip service as a good idea, but I could see that they thought it something that they  would never do; after all, the females would marry up, ot at least equal, and shun the “lower classes” who lacked a degree. 

But now, the New York Times tells me that everyone’s doing it.  (via Ann Althouse) And, of course, that it is full of problems we must analyze and navel-gaze to death. 

Related: Dr. Helen writes of an article about “operational sex ratios” (where one sex outnumbers the other, as is found among college-educated women). 

The rest of the article seems to go on about how women cannot find guys suitable enough for them because they (the women) are too highly educated and too “high level” [my words] for the men they date.

Hmm, so if I were in the market today, with a J.D., I would have a world of lesser-educated fellows for the taking?  Damn. 

Kidding, kidding.  Since I met my fellow when I was a mere freshman in college, and he’s still the one I would pick, no question, I must have won the freakin’ lottery.